as a part of the State ideology of Belarus
Chapter 1. Homophobic speech of Alexander Lukashenko
Chapter 2. Homophobic speech of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus
Chapter 3. Homophobic speech of pro-Lukashenko members of the parliament
Chapter 4. Homophobic speech of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
Chapter 5. Homophobic speech of journalists and editors of State media
This report aims to draw attention to facts that usually do not come to the attention of international organizations and partners, namely, the use of hate speech and a homophobic speech by representatives of various branches of government in Belarus. Historically, homophobia and sexism are in fact part of the state ideology of Belarus, and this is proved by numerous statements of representatives of the system of power – starting from Alexander Lukashenko, at the first place, to ministers and deputies. This is due to the fact that in the understanding of all supporters of the state ideology of Belarus a strong leader is a brutal, toxic, physically strongest man, who does not respect the other point of view and is not ready to listen to it and is not ready to make any compromises. For such a leader, any reference to sex is a matter of domination and hierarchy of power. It is no accident that Alexander Lukashenko periodically describes his relations with Russia or Europe with words that in our culture refer to sexual coercion. In this context, a sexual coercion of a physically stronger man over a weaker man, where the consent of a weaker man is not asked.
In general, the nature of Alexander Lukashenko’s power is monosexual and very unambiguous. It is a struggle for the right of some men to humiliate and dominate over other men. Women in such a male management system play the role of a “voice” – they give voice to the decisions that are invented by men in power. Alexander Lukashenko periodically talks in some spurts about Belarusian women, in between his typical male hysteria and the showdown with other men. In the hierarchical system of power of President Lukashenko, other men are enemies. They are everywhere, and there is nowhere to hide from them. They just keep waiting for how to come from behind and … tilt.
It is logical that when such homophobia comes from the very top, then, consequently, there is no legislation on discrimination in the country, LGBT organizations are not registered, the city authorities do not give permission for LGBT protests, and any deviations from the standard gender distribution are prosecuted. All attempts to hold gay parades in Belarus were stopped with the use of violence by police officers. In addition, representatives of government structures (the president, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, deputies, and state media) systematically use the language of hatred and enmity when they talk about representatives of sexual minorities, including calling for violence or threatening some kind of punishment against representatives of the LGBT community. This report captures only the most vivid homophobic speeches of Belarusian officials.
Chapter 1. Homophobic speech of Alexander Lukashenko
On October 7, 2010, during a conference for Russian media, Alexander Lukashenko said: “Westerwelle (German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle) was offended by what I expressed there, that I do not accept … what’s it called … this homo … no, a man with a man – what is that? Homosexuality. I did not know, honestly. The minister wrote to me that he is …, I did not read this information”, “I started to argue that we men are to blame if there is lesbianism. It is still forgivable; a woman with a woman can still be tolerated. But, I say, when it is about homosexuality, it is just horrible”
In February 2011, during a meeting with the foreign ministers of Poland and Germany, Alexander Lukashenko told the head of the German Foreign Ministry Guido Westerwelle that homosexuals should be sent to sovkhozes (state farms). Later, the head of the Polish Foreign Ministry Radoslaw Sikorski told the publication of Wprost about that. “When I was in Minsk with Guido Westerwelle, we talked about minorities, and not only about ethnic ones. Similarly, Alexander Lukashenko also had commented. Lukashenko, in particular, said that he does not understand how a man can live with a man, “- Sikorski said. According to him, this was a clear reference to Westerwelle who has a partner. “The German minister became nervous, but Lukashenko went even further. He said in a very acute manner that he had nothing against lesbians, but he would gladly send gays to sovkhozes,” a source from the Polish Foreign Ministry shared with Wprost.
On February 19, 2011, while talking to journalists at the “Raubichi” sports complex, Lukashenko confirmed that such case has happened. “They lulled us, the West calmed us down, great figures of right and wrong orientation came here and started to reproach me for judging these “gays” and so on.” – said the head of Belarus. – Well, I do not like gays and I said that I do not like. You see, the Foreign Minister of Germany was offended at me, I am reading from this “trash” (the European press). I looked him straight in the eyes and said, “We must lead a normal life.” We do not accept his way of life. And we do not need to impose this here (sexual minorities). If in Germany it is possible – then let Germany be engaged in this there. And we do not need this here (sexual minorities).”
On March 4, 2012, Alexander Lukashenko declared: “As for the second one, either the pink (lesbian) or the blue (gay) one, who was shouting out about the dictatorship … When I heard this, I thought: it is better to be a dictator than a gay” (is referred to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle).
On October 23, 2012, Alexander Lukashenko in an interview with Yevgeny Lebedev for the newspaper “The Independent” stated: “As I have said before when it comes to the relationship between woman and woman (LGBT), then we are men to blame. A woman replaced a man for a woman – this is men’s fault. We turned out to be untenable men for some women and they began looking for what they had to find in us in other women. Therefore, I am taking with regret lesbianism or whatever you call it. This is bad, but I do not judge. However, as for the men… Ohh! Holy, holy! This is beyond my understanding. I do not understand this. I do not perceive this, and if I perceive it, it is extremely negative. I consider this extremely abnormal.”
On April 19, 2013, Alexander Lukashenko addressed a message to the Belarusian people and the National Assembly: “Do not force us, dear ones, to introduce same-sex marriage. This will not happen in Belarus, at least not in the near future. Well, this will not happen for sure while I am a president. There will not be gays, lesbians and other here.”
Statements of Alexander Lukashenko about his relations with other male politicians from the perspective of sexual coercion between men and men.
Actually, for the first time the vulgar term of “tilt” (to force to have sex in the “doggy style” pose) appeared in Alexander Lukashenko’s speech back in 2003, but since then the variety of those who force Alexander Grigorievich to sex has grown significantly.
On March 5, 2012, Alexander Lukashenko spoke out about his relations with Germany through the prism of forced sex: “I was surprised at how the leaders in Germany (10-15 years ago) treated the people that suffered during the Second World War. Everyone bowed, kneeled, carried flowers. We lost a third of our population. Therefore, you (Germany) have not yet even paid off with us for that. Why do you always tilt us? And today, I realized that all this was a game of the politicians of Germany. If it was not a game, they would appreciate us (Lukashenko) for not only saving the world from the brown plague (Nazi) but also the population of Germany.”
On April 21, 2012, in an appeal to the Belarusian people and parliament, Alexander Lukashenko declared: “Imagine someone would bomb, storm the house of the government or the presidential palace in France. What would happen to these people tomorrow? No one would say even a single word. But if it would happen here: “Release, unleash – this is a violation of the rules of democracy, that means we will tilt you.”Tilt. Democracy is not a question here. ”
On July 7, 2012, Alexander Lukashenko again warned the Russian leadership: “Do not tilt your partner, and I consider this as non-partner actions, not to mention allied and fraternal relations”
On June 22, 2012, at the observance of the 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War, the head of Belarus stated about the obvious threat from Russia: “Today, the West is trying to tilt us, and there are such ones also in Russia,” he said, adding, “there is no reason to tilt us.”
On September 30, 2012, at the festival “Dozhinki” in Molodechno, the head of Belarus warned the Germans and the Polish people, who “took an incomprehensible position”: “But it is useless to tilt us.”
On October 26, 2012, Alexander Lukashenko complained about the “Eastern Partnership”: “Recently a meeting of the so-called “Eastern Partnership” was held, and they again started to educate and tilt the Belarusians.”
On March 9, 2017, Alexander Lukashenko again remembered the relations between Russia and Belarus: “If we build our union (with Russia), we intend to build a single state – and then our people, enterprises, and businesses should have equal conditions in this market. That is all; we do not want anything else. If one of the smart guys (Russian politicians) thinks that they can constantly tilt and kneel us, then they should know this will not happen.”
On March 30, 2018, Alexander Lukashenko complained about forced sex by Russia: “We need to be determined. If they (Russian politicians) decided to constantly tilt us for no reason, then we will seek our happiness elsewhere.”
Chapter 2. Homophobic speech of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus.
On June 5, 2013, the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Yevgeny Lazarev condemned the legalization of same-sex marriages in France, stating the following in his speech as a representative of the delegation of the Republic of Belarus during the discussion at the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council of the UN in Geneva: “We would also like draw attention to the situation in France. The discriminatory law on same-sex marriage actually splits French society. It is about the government’s violation of the rights of those French people who would like to have healthy families. Today in France, people who are in favor of families that can give a birth to children are beaten by police using truncheons and tear-gas and being arrested. Moreover, this is a country that considers itself an absolute democracy and tries to give others lessons in the democracy!”
On June 29, 2014, Vladimir Makei gave an interview to the program “The main ether” (the former “Panorama”). To the question – why Belarus does not want to release political prisoners, Vladimir Makei answered: “We know that even if we release those whom they (Europe) call political prisoners, tomorrow we will face new claims. For example, why unisexual marriages are not registered in Belarus. They will make claims on why children call their parents “mom” and “dad”, and not as required there – “parent number 1 and number 2.”
On March 30, 2016, Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, during a visit to Hungary, gave an interview to the newspaper “Magyar Khirlap”, in which he stated: “As if we were not accused of violating the rights of a person, we categorically advocate the preservation of a traditional family. And I’m afraid that we will never find an understanding on this issue with those who will put pressure on us.“
In 2017 (the exact date is not known), an information note for homosexual tourists coming to the country was published on the official website of the Republic of Belarus, which is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The note, which is available only in the English version of the website, says that Belarusians generally consider themselves a tolerant nation and the younger generation, unlike older people, more openly and tolerantly perceives homosexuality. However, foreign tourists should not count on a calm attitude towards gays and lesbians in Belarus. In this regard, homosexual couples are advised to avoid public displays of feelings, as well as “book rooms with two beds instead of one double bed”.
Chapter 3. Homophobic speech of pro-Lukashenko members of the parliament
Over the past decades, many Belarusian officials and deputies have come forward with initiatives to return criminal prosecution for homosexuality. Several statements of deputies were the most famous:
On April 4, 2005, deputy of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Viktor Kuchinsky stated that he considers it necessary to introduce criminalizing homosexuality. “My position as a deputy is as follows: all these “gays” and others should be forbitten fully,“ – said the parliamentarian at the session of the lower chamber of parliament during the discussion of the president’s decree “On Actions against Human Trafficking.”
On April 4, 2005, the deputy of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, Sergey Kostyan, proposed to forcibly sterilize gays, homeless people, and alcoholics as people who lead an “antisocial way of life“.
In June 2013, the publication “Belarusian Partisan” has reported the following by citing a source in the apparatus of the Belarusian parliament: it is possible that in half a year or in a year the sexual intercourse of men with a man (sodomy) in Belarus will be punished by imprisonment for up to ten years followed with seizure of property. Propaganda of homosexuality – a fine or imprisonment for up to 5 years. These amendments in the Belarusian Criminal Code were planned to be adopted by Belarusian parliamentarians already at the autumn session of 2013, but then they decided to postpone this issue.
On July 14, 2015, the patriotic party of Nikolai Ulakhovich adopted the program “Against gender equality, tolerance and propaganda of homosexuality.” Nikolai Ulakhovich is a member of the National Assembly at the moment, in 2015 he was a sparring partner of Alexander Lukashenko in the presidential elections, an open supporter of Alexander Lukashenko and state policy. The program says: “We are opposed to the programs of “gender equality” that the West imposes on Belarus and which promote the ideas that men and women do not differ from each other. We are in favor of a traditional child-rearing when the boy is brought up as a future man – the father, the protector of the family and the motherland. The girl is raised as a future mother and keeper of the family hearth. This is enough to ensure fertility and reduce the number of families that fall apart. “
Nikolai Ulakhovich also said that he opposes “tolerance that is forcibly imposed on Belarus by the West”, a member of the National Assembly supports “rejection of certain phenomena in society, such as propaganda of homosexuality, unconventional norms of child-rearing and legalizing drugs.”
On October 14, 2016, the current National Assembly deputy Igor Marzalyuk said: “I’m sick of the words “gender”, “gender balance”. Feminists are women who do not have a personal life. Either they are latent lesbians, or they are people who could not realize themselves in life.” Deputy Igor Marzalyuk became famous for being in the opposition before and then began to support Lukashenko actively, as we understand, because of sexism and homophobia. Belarus Digest called Marzalyuk “the face of Belarusian politics”. As we see from this statement, this “face” is extremely intolerant, sexist, suffering from misogyny and homophobia.
Chapter 4. Homophobic speech of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
On May 20, 2018, the Ministry of Internal Affairs published an official comment, stating that it regrets that on May 17 the LGBT flag was posted over the British Embassy. “The initiative of a foreign state to create problems at the place where no problem exists cannot be called positive,” the ministry said, reminding that the International Day Against Homophobia had never been a memorable and significant day in Belarus.
“The reason for this is obvious – the overwhelming majority of Belarusians adhere to traditional family values, including Christian ones. A statement of this kind is a challenge to these values – said in the appeal of the law enforcement agency. – Whatever one may say, same-sex relationships are a forgery. And the essence of forgery is always the same – the devaluation of truth. LGBT community and this entire struggle for “their rights”, and the day of this community – just a fake! … We are for the true, they will not pass here!”.
On May 22, 2018, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus Igor Shunevich stated on the air of the state TV: “We do not have any right to not react to such events,” said the chief Belarusian police officer. – I call this [the appearance of the LGBT flag on the embassy building] propaganda of a way of life that is unacceptable to us. This is the main motive that made us comment on this issue. ” According to Shunevich, “today, there is a problem of penetration of unusual, unnatural and other destructive features, ideologies into our society, and there is no better immune against this than our history and religion.”
Chapter 5. Homophobic speech of journalists and editors of State media (media that supports the policy of Alexander Lukashenko)
So, in 2005, the state “First Music Channel” banned the publication in its creeping line the ads “propagandizing (implying) unconventional forms of sexual relations: like … a guy (man) is ready to get acquainted with a guy (a man); … a couple is ready to get acquainted with a couple (a man, a girl ); … the girl (woman) is ready to get acquainted with the girl (woman) “. The administration of the channel explained the prohibition with the moral norms of the Belarusian society.
On September 23, 2014, the state newspaper “Vecherniy Grodno” published an article: “To pray or to be treated? What priests and doctors think about homosexuality,” where same-sex relationships were considered as a form of illness.
On December 28, 2014, the “Vecherniy Mogilev” published an article under heading “For the first time in the history of Belarus, a transsexual was taken into custody,” where the author described a woman who undergone gender reassignment as “a whiny and hermaphroditic creature who, according to the case, does not slice off a glass, steals from her villagers, like a dirty whip, and at the same time cohabits with her own kind.” The author called transsexual “it” and urged for criminalizing the adoption of the girl.
“The information, in connection with the fact of the cohabitation of the mother of 3 children with the transsexual, was sent to the department of education, sports and tourism of the Mogilev district executive committee for taking measures to protect the girls who were dependent on a person of non-traditional sexual orientation.”
“Indeed, what kind of members of society can a transsexual bring up? The countries of Western Europe, in the framework of juvenile justice, allow pederasts to adopt children, and they simply become hostages in the hands of perverts who seduce and mock the kid every single day in their own ways. In the Republic of Belarus, the “gay lobby” is controlled by the leadership of the country and it is aware of that going to the highest spheres of the government or to the guardianship department for a pea-brained victim with the status of homosexuality is a bad idea.”
Consequently, the text disappeared from the site, like another article under the heading “People sometimes see blue cities in their dreams. The blue (gays) will gather and go away forever. “
On May 30, 2015, the state-run newspaper “Vecherniy Mogilev” published an article entitled “Cancer of a Modern Society,” in which journalist Andrei Sokolov spoke about representatives of sexual minorities in an offensive manner. In particular, Andrei Sokolov wrote that “and if the adherents of sexual perversions are not sick people, they are deeply perverse, which is even worse. And we have no right to tolerate this phenomenon because the Lord has already punished entire nations for this sin and punishes now. This is not the politicians who spill blood in a number of places. To argue with God, to discuss with Him is … He even did not spare angels who opposed His will, turning them into demons.”
On February 13, 2016, the state-owned newspaper “Vecherniy Mogilev” published a text entitled “The abomination of Sodom is akin to hooliganism,” where the author explained that kissing homosexuals should be beaten since the kisses of same-sex people are an administrative and even criminal article under “Hooliganism.”
In September 2017, the newspaper published the text “Gay party ended in a zone”. Already from the first lines, the author points out: “Alexei Ivanovich has never concealed that he is a homosexual. His life proceeded in the incessant change of sexual partners … Alyosha was ordering “comfort boys” on the Internet. The geography of perverts’ inhabitation in the country is extensive, but mostly they are living on the liberated and democratic west of Belarus. Therefore, another boyfriend came to him on a train from Grodno. The local gay-party met the desired Nicolas at the railway station in Mogilev and immediately took him to the private house. For two days, the home partners did things and took baths. The third day was the Trinity. However, the great Orthodox holiday was not an obstacle to Sodom entertainment. “
On April 9, 2017, the editor of “Vecherniy Mogilev” explicitly stated that the LGBT is undermining the foundations of state ideology: “Well, if you think of these freaks who adhere to the pederast position, then I want to tell you that in future we will adhere to our publications generally accepted norms of morality in order to ensure the demographic security of the Republic of Belarus, the institution of family and marriage, to oppose the propagation of sexual promiscuity, the inadmissibility of planting in the Belarusian society of nontraditional sexual orientation, immoral, anti-Christian phenomena that undermine the moral foundations of our society and the ideology of the state.”
On April 2, 2018, the newspaper “Vecherniy Mogilev” published a letter from some “Orthodox Christians of Mogilev.” In this letter, the indifferent are deeply resented by the festival of queer-story: “On April 6-8, i.e. on Orthodox Easter (!!!), in Minsk, it is planned to hold IV international festival of queer-stories “DOTYK. Take a step!” The peculiarity of this (already the fourth!) Festival is that its beginning is planned for Great Friday when the Orthodox believers of the country are in great sorrow as this is the day of the crucifixion of Christ. On the Great Saturday at 11:00 p.m. a gay party “Yes, It All Now #2” is planned – this is a kind of an “all-night vigil” of perverts (the entrance to which will not be free, unlike all other events of the festival). On the day of Jesus Resurrection, the discussion of the topical problems of LGBT people is planned, namely, “a manifesto of safe space”, the press, propaganda, etc.”
The newspaper writes: “Not only is they corrupt our children with the propaganda of their “unconventional sexual orientation”, they also chose Easter Day as the date of the gay festival. … The wrath of God will be great. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a vivid evidence of this. The ultimate goal of all ungodliness is to bring the wrath of God to all the people and to destroy people together with them. It is known that the enemies of Orthodoxy and our people are the protectors of all immorality, including gay festivals.”
1. The Belarusian authorities deliberately and systematically mix LGBT, pedophilia, sexual abuse of children and drug use into one heap. That is, thanks to the state media and statements of officials and state deputies, a chain/links of “LGBT – drugs – pedophilia and violence against children – against state ideology” is being built.
2. The Belarusian authorities perceive any rights of LGBT people as a ban on the traditional family (this is clearly seen in the statements of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry): i.e. there can be either an LGBT partnership or a traditional family; both options cannot co-exist in the mindsets of Belarusian officials.
3. It is clear from the speeches of the Belarusian authorities that LGBT is a very strong stigma for them, and drawing a parallel line between political prisoners in Belarus and LGBT people (mentioned by Vladimir Makei) indicates that LGBT is the alike stigma for the government as the sale of drugs and pedophilia.
4. Belarusian authorities perceive women as inferior beings. That is, lesbianism can exist in case if a woman is not a beauty and men does not need her (too old, ugly or has some visible flaws). Gays have to be banned undoubtedly, and lesbians can exist, if these are women who are not needed and men do not like her in a sexual way.
5. In the mindset of Alexander Lukashenko, the entire international Belarusian policy is built on the principle of which of the men has the right to force other men to sex. When it comes to political processes, especially in the international arena, high-ranking officials often use the terms in their lexicons denoting sexual coercion and humiliation in sex. We think any development of a partnership between the countries will be rather complicated in terms of such a political picture of the world where some male politicians force to sex and humiliate other male politicians. This irrational fear and even a phobia complicate any negotiations: Alexander Lukashenko perceives any male politician from Europe or from Russia only as a threat to humiliate him or force him to have sex.